|Publication number||US7064272 B2|
|Application number||US 11/100,250|
|Publication date||Jun 20, 2006|
|Filing date||Apr 6, 2005|
|Priority date||Sep 13, 2004|
|Also published as||CA2518666A1, CA2518666C, US20060054340|
|Publication number||100250, 11100250, US 7064272 B2, US 7064272B2, US-B2-7064272, US7064272 B2, US7064272B2|
|Inventors||Delbert Auray, Kenneth M. Kiely|
|Original Assignee||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (27), Referenced by (17), Classifications (17), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation in part application of application Ser. No. 10/939,619 filed Sep. 13, 2004 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,916,988 for Electrical Connector With Frustro Conical Snap Fit Retaining Ring.
This invention is directed to a further advancement in the field of electrical connector assemblies having a snap fit retaining ring circumscribing the outlet end of a connector body for effecting a snap fit connection to an electrical box of the types described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,860,758, and co-pending application Ser. No. 10/790,283 filed Mar. 1, 2004 for Snap Fitting Electrical Connector; and in a co-pending application Ser. No. 11/028,373 filed Jan. 3, 2005, which co-pending applications are incorporated herein by reference.
More specifically, this invention relates to a snap fit electrical connector for facilitating the connection of an electrical connector and associable cable, wire, conductors or the like to an electrical box, which is provided with a readily detachable snap fit outer frustro-conical member circumscribing the outlet end of a connector body for simplifying its connection to an electric box and a unidirectional cable or wire retainer associated with the inlet end of the connector for positively securing a wire, cable or conductor to the inlet end of the connector so as to prohibit any unintentional separation of the wire, cable or electrical conductor from the connector.
Electrical connectors are commonly used for attaching electrical conductors, cables, wires, electrical metal tubing (EMT) or the like to an electric box, e.g. a junction box, outlet box, switch box, fuse box, or other similar type of electric box. Such known electrical connectors are either of a type that are secured to an electric box by a threaded lock nut or by means of a circular snap fit retaining ring of the type disclosed on the above identified co-pending applications, or as disclosed in U.S. Patents, such as U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,444,907; 5,189,258; 5,266,050; 5,171,164; 2,744,769 and 1,483,218 for example. Reference is also made to U.S. Pat. No. 6,768,057 which is directed to a right angle type connector formed of a pair of sheet metal stampings fitted together and secured to an electrical box with a snap fit arrangement. Connectors formed as connector caps which are adapted to be fitted over the end of a conductor, cable or wires, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,880,387, are also known. Various other known efforts to facilitate the connection of an electrical conductor to an electric box are evidenced by U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,043,432; 6,080,933; 6,114,630; 6,133,529; 6,335,488; 6,352,439; 6,355,884; 6,444,907; 6,555,750; 6,604,400; 6,670,553; 6,737,584; 6,682,355; 6,780,029 and 6,849,803. While such prior known connectors can be satisfactorily used for their intended purposes, efforts are constantly being made to improve upon the known electrical connectors. The disclosure herein comprises but another effort to advance or improve the manner of forming and/or securing electrical connectors and/or conductors to an electric box.
An object of this invention is to provide an electrical connector with a frustro-conically shaped retaining ring having integrally formed locking tangs and electrical grounding tangs.
Another object of this invention is to provide for an electrical connector assembly that includes an electrical connector body having an outlet end portion having a complementary frustro-conical retaining ring that is readily fitted to and retained on the outlet end portion of the connector body.
Another object is to provide a connector assembly comprising a connector body having an outlet portion free of any retaining flanges and an associated snap fit retainer ring circumscribing the outlet end portion.
Another object is to provide a retaining ring having a face portion with outwardly flaring circumscribing arms or sides having locking and grounding tangs that are readily formed out of a surface of the respective arms or side.
Another object is to provide a retaining ring having a frustro-conical shape with a first series of tangs for securing the retaining ring relative to an electrical box and a second series of tangs for effecting a positive electrical ground with an associated electrical box when fitted onto the end of a connector body.
Another object is to provide a frustro-conically shaped retaining ring that can be readily formed from a blank of spring steel.
Another object is to provide an electrical connector with a frustro-conical outer retainer ring circumscribing the outer surface of the connector outlet end and a unidirectional retainer associated with the inlet end of the connector for securing an electrical wire or conductor thereto.
Another object is to provide an electrical connector with an internal unidirectional ring insert for frictionally retaining a wire conductor to the connector so as to prevent any unintentional separation of a wire conductor therefrom.
Another object is to provide an electrical connector having an outer frustro-conical snap fit retainer ring for connecting the connector to an electrical box and an inner unidirectional retainer ring for securing a wire conductor thereto so as to prevent any unintentional separation of the wire conductor from the connector.
Another object is to provide an electrical connector with an improved wire retainer ring whereby the wire conductor is secured upon the mere insertion of the wire conductor into the connector and is prohibited from being unintentionally separated from the connector.
Another object of this invention is to provide an electrical connector with a wire retainer ring whereby a helical wound wire conductor can be secured upon mere insertion of the armored conductor wire or by threading the armored conductor wire into the wire retainer ring so as to prohibit any unintentional separation of the wire conductor from the electrical connector.
Another object is to provide or an electrical connector assembly that is relatively simple to fabricate and positive in operation.
The foregoing objects and other features and advantages are attained by an electrical connector assembly that includes a connector body having an inlet end portion for receiving an electrical conductor and an outlet portion which is adapted to be inserted through a knockout hole of an electric box, e.g. an electric outlet box or the like. A radially outwardly extending flange circumscribes an intermediate portion of the connector body to function as a stop to limit the insertion of the outlet end portion of the connector body through the knockout hole of an electric box. The outlet end portion may be provided with an outer surface that converges or tapers inwardly toward the outlet opening thereof. Formed on the surface of the outlet end portion are one or more retaining lugs, which may be circumferentially spaced about the outlet end portion. A frustro-conically shaped snap ring is fitted onto the outlet end portion.
In accordance with this invention, the outer retaining ring, which is initially formed from a blank of sheet material having a cruciform shape, includes a face portion with a central opening wherein the radiating arms of the cruciform blank are disposed about the face portion to define a frustro-conical ring. The ring so formed is provided with a blanked out or die cut tangs to define locking tangs and grounding tangs. The frustro-conical ring so formed also has a slot adapted to receive the retaining lug when the retaining ring is fitted onto the outlet end portion of the connector body so that the free or trailing ends of the ring or grounding tangs engage the inner periphery of the knockout hole of an electric box for effecting positive electrical continuity and grounding.
To form the retaining ring, the cruciform arms are arranged to be folded relative to the front or face forming portion of the blank, which is provided with a central opening, to define a unitary frustro-conically shaped cup-like member to compliment or be fitted to the outlet end portion of the connector body. The retaining ring thus formed is fitted over or onto the outlet end portion whereby the retaining slot formed in the ring is adapted to receive the complementary retaining lug formed on the surface of the outlet end portion for retaining the ring on the outlet end portion of the connector body.
With the construction described, the connector assembly can be readily inserted through the knockout opening of an electric box wherein the locking tangs will spring outwardly to lock the connector assembly to the electric box with the grounding tangs or free ends of the arms being biased or urged against the internal periphery of the knockout hole to effect a positive electric ground, due to the inherent resiliency of the respective tangs and the material from which they are formed.
This invention further contemplates providing the inlet end of the connector with an inner retainer ring which is uniquely formed for positively securing thereto a wire conductor by merely inserting the wire conductor into the inner retainer ring, and whereby the wire conductor is prohibited from being unintentionally separated therefrom. The inner retainer ring is preferably formed of a blank of spring metal material which is rolled to form a cylinder or sleeve having an outer diameter which can be frictionally retained within the inlet end of a connector, e.g. by a press or friction fit.
A further embodiment of the disclosed invention utilizes a simplified clamping arrangement for securing the wire conductor to the inlet end of the connector by a mere insertion. In the event the wire conductor has a helical wound armored shield, e.g. a BX wire conductor, such armored wire conductor may alternatively be secured to the wire retainer ring or sleeve by threading the armored conductor to the wire retainer ring or sleeve.
Referring to the drawings, there is shown in
As shown in
The connector assembly 10 also includes a snap fit retaining ring 18. In accordance with this invention, the retaining ring 18 is integrally formed from a blank 19 of spring steel material. As best seen in
As illustrated in
In forming the retaining ring 18 from blank 19, the respective arms AA and BB are subjected to a series of progressive bending dies which will gradually bend the respective arms relative about a foldline f, which defines the face or front portion 20, whereby the arms AA and BB form a cup having circumscribing frustro-conical or outwardly flaring sides to define a ring which complements the conical surface S of the outlet end portion 11B, as seen in
With the retainer ring 18 properly secured to the outlet end 11B of the connector body 11, the connector assembly 10 can be readily secured to an electric box 10 by simply aligning the assembly 10 with a knockout hole 14, as best seen in
It will be understood that the wire conductor 25 may be secured to the connector assembly 10 either before or after the assembly 10 has been secured to the electric box 15. In the illustrated embodiment, the conductor wire 25 is simply inserted into the inlet end portion 11A and secured in position by a suitable securing means. In the illustrated embodiment of
From the foregoing, it will be apparent that the disclosed connector assembly is quite novel and simple in construction. The snap fit retaining ring 18 can be simply formed from a cruciform shaped blank 19 whereby the opposed radially extending arms AA and BB can be readily formed into a cup having a generally frustro-conically shaped sidewalls complementing the slope of the outlet end portion 11A, and whereby the outer retainer ring 18 can be readily secured to the connector body simply by the inter-engagement of slots 21 with its complementary lugs 17.
In the assembled position, the outer retainer ring 18 is positively secured to the connector body in a manner to prohibit any unintentional separation. Also the tangs 22 and 23, which are formed integral with ring 18, are shaped and formed so that the locking tangs 22 secure the assembly 10 to an electric box 15 while the grounding tangs 23 ensure a positive electrical ground of the assembly 10 with the associated electric box 15.
The outlet end 31A of the connector body 30 is provided with opposed retaining lugs 37 adjacent the outlet opening 36. Circumscribing the sloping or conical surface S of the outlet end 31A is the outer retaining ring 38, similar to that hereinbefore described with respect to
In the embodiment illustrated in
Blanked, lanced, cut or stamped out of the plane of blank 40 are one or more tangs 45. In the form of the invention as shown in
As shown in
The connector body of
The outer circumference of the inner retainer sleeve or ring 39 is proportioned so that it can be press fitted or frictionally fitted into the inlet end 31B of the connector body 31 by a force sufficient to firmly secure the inner retainer ring or sleeve 39 within the inlet end so as to prohibit any separation of the retainer ring or sleeve 39 from the inlet end of the connector body. The complementary flattened surfaces 46 of the internal sleeve 39 and 47 of the inlet end of the connector body insures proper orientation of the internal sleeve 39 within the inlet end of the connector body.
In this form of the invention, the wire retainer means comprises an inverted U shape clamp 56 having opposed leg portions 56A, 56B and an interconnected web 56C. The web 56C is provided with an aperture or hole 57 arranged to be disposed in alignment with the tapped or threaded hole 57. The web 56C is sufficiently wide so that one leg, e.g. leg 56B, is extended through the slotted opening 52 and the other leg 56A extends over the inlet opening 58 to the inlet end portion 51A. The retaining clamp 56 is adjustably secured to the connector body 51 by the set screw 55 extending through the aligned tapped hole or screw hole 52. By having one leg 56B extending through the slotted opening 52 and the other leg 56A extending over the inlet opening 58, the clamp 56 can be readily adjusted relative to the connector body by turning the set screw 18 in one direction or the other. The arrangement is such that as the set screw 55 is tightened, the opposed and spaced apart free ends of the respective clamp legs 56A, 56B will exert a bearing force on the wire conductor sheath to positively secure a wire conductor to the inlet end of the connector assembly. In all other respects, the connector assembly of
While the present invention has been described with respect to several embodiments, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US1483218||Sep 27, 1919||Feb 12, 1924||Fahnestock Electric Company||Insulating bushing|
|US2744769||Mar 25, 1954||May 8, 1956||Roeder Harold C||Bushing means for attaching cable in plate|
|US4248459 *||Feb 6, 1978||Feb 3, 1981||Indian Head Inc.||Flexible conduit system|
|US4621166 *||Aug 15, 1983||Nov 4, 1986||Neuroth Robert J||Adjustable line covering electrical connector|
|US4880387||Oct 3, 1988||Nov 14, 1989||Ibc Corporation||Connector for flexible electrical conduit|
|US5171164||Dec 4, 1991||Dec 15, 1992||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Quick-connect fitting for electrical junction box|
|US5189258||Nov 26, 1990||Feb 23, 1993||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Apparatus for directly attaching a strain relief connector to an electrical enclosure|
|US5266050||Sep 11, 1992||Nov 30, 1993||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Quick-connect fitting for electrical junction box|
|US6043432||Jan 15, 1998||Mar 28, 2000||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Snap in cable connector|
|US6080933||Oct 2, 1998||Jun 27, 2000||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Snap in cable connector|
|US6114630||Oct 29, 1998||Sep 5, 2000||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Snap in cable connector|
|US6133529||Dec 29, 1999||Oct 17, 2000||Arunction Industries, Inc.||Liner assembly|
|US6335488||Jun 26, 2000||Jan 1, 2002||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Snap in cable connector|
|US6352439||May 5, 2000||Mar 5, 2002||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Threaded snap in connector|
|US6355884||Feb 23, 2001||Mar 12, 2002||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Duplex connector|
|US6444907||May 1, 2001||Sep 3, 2002||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Electrical cable connector|
|US6476322 *||Sep 5, 2001||Nov 5, 2002||Donal Joseph Dunne||Conduits|
|US6555750||Jun 26, 2002||Apr 29, 2003||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Electrical cable connector|
|US6604400||Feb 23, 2001||Aug 12, 2003||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Electrical connector|
|US6670553||Nov 1, 2002||Dec 30, 2003||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Snap engagement electrical fitting for EMT|
|US6682355||Jan 21, 2003||Jan 27, 2004||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Electrical fitting for easy snap engagement of cables|
|US6737584||Apr 15, 2003||May 18, 2004||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Electrical cable connector|
|US6768057||Mar 12, 2001||Jul 27, 2004||Ibc Corporation||Connector for flexible electrical conduit|
|US6780029||Sep 27, 2002||Aug 24, 2004||Arlington Industries, Inc.||High continuity electrical fitting|
|US6849803||Feb 23, 2001||Feb 1, 2005||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Electrical connector|
|US6860758||Oct 30, 2002||Mar 1, 2005||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Snap fitting electrical connector|
|US6872886||Mar 26, 2004||Mar 29, 2005||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Electrical cable connector|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7161095||Jul 27, 2006||Jan 9, 2007||Arlington Industries, Inc.||Electrical fitting for snap in connection of cables|
|US7358448||Mar 20, 2007||Apr 15, 2008||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Electrical connector assembly with frusto-conical snap fit retaining ring for enhancing electrical grounding of the connector assembly to an electrical box and installation tool therefor|
|US7432452||Nov 9, 2006||Oct 7, 2008||Halex/Scott Fetzer Company||Snap-in connector for electrical junction box|
|US7476817||Nov 29, 2006||Jan 13, 2009||Sami Shemtov||Connector for affixing cables within junction boxes|
|US7824213||Nov 2, 2010||Hubbell Incorporated||One-piece electrical cable connector having a retaining spring|
|US8162693 *||Apr 24, 2012||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Snap-in electrical connector with locking cam and method of use|
|US8253043 *||Aug 28, 2012||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Snap-in electrical connector with multiple function retainer ring|
|US8277247 *||Sep 21, 2010||Oct 2, 2012||Andrew Llc||Shielded grip ring for coaxial connector|
|US8796549 *||Feb 2, 2011||Aug 5, 2014||Tyco Electronics Corporation||Wire bushing|
|US8803008||Mar 1, 2012||Aug 12, 2014||Sigma Electric Manufacturing Corporation||Conduit connector and methods for making and using the same|
|US8857039||Feb 16, 2011||Oct 14, 2014||Sigma Electric Manufacturing Corporation||Electrical box conduit connectors and methods for making and using the same|
|US9231388||Aug 31, 2012||Jan 5, 2016||Sigma Electric Manufactruing Corporation||Conduit connector and method for making and using the same|
|US20070163804 *||Mar 20, 2007||Jul 19, 2007||Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.||Electrical connector assembly with frustro-conical snap fit retaining ring for enhancing electrical grounding of the connector assembly to an electrical box and installation tool therefor|
|US20070278006 *||Nov 9, 2006||Dec 6, 2007||Halex/Scott Fetzer Company||Snap-in connector for electrical junction box|
|US20100279530 *||Nov 4, 2010||Auray Delbert L||Snap-in Electrical Connector with Locking Cam and Method of Use|
|US20110009000 *||Jan 13, 2011||Andrew Llc||Shielded grip ring for coaxial connector|
|US20120193140 *||Feb 2, 2011||Aug 2, 2012||Briere Thomas A||Wire Bushing|
|U.S. Classification||174/659, 174/68.1, 174/69, 174/72.00C, 174/68.3, 174/657|
|Cooperative Classification||F16L5/00, H02G3/0691, H01R24/564, H02G15/04, H01R2103/00, H01R13/745|
|European Classification||H01R13/74B4, F16L5/00, H02G3/06C2, H02G15/04|
|Apr 6, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BRIDGEPORT FITTINGS, INC., CONNECTICUT
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:AURAY, DELBERT;KIELY, KENNETH M.;REEL/FRAME:016455/0134
Effective date: 20050406
|Jul 22, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jul 28, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8